Several years ago, Mark Abbot and his wife, Alyson, were given the most heartbreaking news of their lives: their doctor informed them that they were unable to bear children. “When we first got that news, it was like our world, hopes, and dreams had crumbled,” wrote Mark. “I’ve spoken about the sovereignty of God, sung songs about it, even preached a time or two about it, but this time God was asking me if I was really going to believe it.”
Although the news was devastating at the time, God shaped a new dream out of this hardship for Mark and Alyson’s family—to adopt.
At the same time, Mark felt God was calling him to attend seminary to pursue his Doctor of Ministry. Although Mark and Alyson were passionate about both pursuits, the cost of adopting a child in the United States is well beyond what most families can afford; add to that the expense of pursuing a seminary degree and you may very well sink yourself into decades of debt.
But Mark’s faith was never shaken. “I know that no matter what happens to me in this life, God has a way of taking the bad things that happen and using them for good,” he wrote. And he couldn’t have been more right. Mark was recently awarded the Leith Anderson Scholarship—an $18,000 scholarship that will allow Mark to earn his DMin for free from Knox Theological Seminary.
Mark was shocked when he heard the news. “This was a gift from God,” he wrote. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime to earn my doctorate for free.” With this scholarship, Mark and his wife can follow through with their adoption plans without the additional financial burden of paying for seminary.
Knox’s DMin program also allows Mark to earn his degree at his own pace, while staying with his current church and job—things that many seminary students have to sacrifice while attending school.
In addition to preparing for his new educational journey, Mark and his wife are now in the final stages of the adoption process and are on the waiting list for a child to be placed in their home. “I’ve stopped asking ‘why,’” wrote Mark. “His plan is better than any plan that I could come up with on my own.”